WHEN A BUILD GOES TO THE RIGHT HOME
When this ’98 Toyota Tacoma goes to the right home
While Japan is the birthplace of drifting, a driving technique in which the driver intentionally oversteers while maintaining control, the motorsport arrived in the United States in the mid-’90s and gained tremendous momentum. Fueled by a dragracing/hot-rod–influenced childhood, from his grandfather to his father and uncles, and even his mother, who has spent time under the hood and on the track, Mitch Varisco was overtaken by the wave of Japanese car culture.
Over the course of his teenage years and into his twenties, Mitch built close to six different drift vehicles and learned the lower the vehicle, the better it performed. At 27 years old, he switched gears, so to speak. After attending a truck show, Mitch decided to drop into the mini-truck scene to once and for all satisfy the urges to be as low as possible. He decided he loved the body-dropped look so much that he began looking for a truck. He was on the hunt for something to lay frame with when he found his first truck: a fullsize Chevy that was quickly traded for a much more suitable Tacoma, which he soon began to customize.
Mitch balked at the thought of body-dropping the Taco. “The truck was just too clean to start cutting up,” he tells Truckin. “I needed something that was already bodied.” Because he was invested in the Toyota Tacoma look, Mitch began searching for a different one. While looking through social media, he found Thomas Townsend, a custom builder out of Joliet, Illinois, who owns and operates The Paint Asylum, a very reputable paint shop. Thomas was the owner of a ’98 Tacoma that he had poured his heart and soul into. But he had family medical issues and needed money. Mitch came along at the right time, offered a generous amount, and took possession of the custom truck.